Board games | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Board games

5 September, 2021

In this article Imeth de Silva tells us about some popular board games.

Board games are usually played on top of a table and hence they are also known as tabletop games. They attract much attention as it is a very fun and exciting way to pass time with friends and family. Let us take a look at a few of the most popular board games that have lasted throughout the centuries.

Snakes and Ladders

Who hasn’t heard of Snakes and Ladders? Undoubtedly, one of the most famous board games in the world, Snakes and Ladders first originated in India. It was then known as Moksha Patam.

Snakes and Ladders can be played by two or more players and the game time can vary from 15 to 45 minutes. There are 100 squares on the board, and pictures of ladders and snakes are depicted on it.

Each ladder or snake conjoins two squares of the board.

The concept is very simple. If you find your game piece on the bottom of a ladder, you climb the ladder. Likewise, if it’s the head of a snake you go down towards the square ending with its tail. Players roll the dice and decide how to move their game pieces and try to ultimately win the game by reaching the topmost square.

Snakes and Ladders teaches us some valuable life lessons. Just like the ladders and snakes on the board, life too is full of ups and downs. You have to do the right things and stay away from the bad things to reach the top.


Carrom is also another popular board game which originated in India. After World War 1, carrom rose to popularity among South Asian countries including Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

A carrom set contains 19 pieces of small disks named ‘carrom men’ and a ‘striker’.

The ‘striker’ is used to strike the ‘carrom men’ and hence it is bigger. The ‘carrom men’ are coloured in black, white and red. There is only one red disk and that disk is called the ‘queen’ and it is the most valuable piece. The remaining 18 pieces are divided equally into black and white for each player.

The ‘queen’ is placed at the centre as shown in the picture. The remaining ‘carrom men’ are arranged accordingly. The player who wins the toss decides who plays first and which colour to choose.

The player taking the first shot plays white ‘carrom men’. The opponent is black. A successful pocketing ensures you get another chance to shoot again. It is even possible to pocket all your pieces and the ‘queen without your opponent even getting a chance to shoot.

Crossing the diagonal lines on the board, pocketing your ‘striker’ is a foul and you have to return one ‘carrom man’ which was was already pocketed. The ‘queen’ adds three points to your total, so after pocketing the ‘queen’, you must cover it with another ‘carrom man’ or else the ‘queen’ is returned to the centre once again.


Draughts or Checkers is another board game which can be played on the chessboard. It requires two players to move around their pieces diagonally to capture the opponents game pieces. Draughts is believed to be at least 5,000 years old and is one of the oldest board games. A game of draughts usually lasts three to 10 minutes.

There are 12 pieces of ‘men’ or ‘pawns’ in black and white. Draughts is only played on the black squares of the board. Players are required to move their respective pieces diagonally to the nearest unoccupied square. If that square has an opponent’s piece and if the square beyond it is vacant, you may simply jump over it and remove the opponent’s game piece from the game.

The player without pieces remaining or the player who can’t move due to being blocked, loses the game.